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South Korean Consortium Launches EPC Gen 2 Reader for Mobile Phones
Developed by a group that includes SK Telecom, an inexpensive RFID interrogator in the form of a USIM card is already being used to verify the authenticity of whiskey.
Jan 24, 2011—South Korean businesses can now track and trace items throughout the supply chain, simply by waving a mobile smart phone over a product, following the release of an RFID reader Universal Subscriber Identity Module (USIM) card. Developed by a consortium that includes South Korean mobile telephony and communications provider SK Telecom, fabless semiconductor company Radiopulse and mobile solutions firm Ajantech, the USIM card features a 900 MHz RFID reader chip made by Phychips. Described by the consortium as a world's first, the card enables mobile phones to read passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) tags complying with the EPC Gen 2 (ISO 18000-6C) standard, and to serve as a substitute for traditional fixed interrogators. The consortium was commissioned in July 2009 by South Korea's Ministry of Knowledge Economy, to develop advanced RFID-related technologies.
Phones with the RFID reader USIM card have already been tested at Incheon International Airport's cargo terminal to track imports and exports. The phones are currently in use at five Korean companies to track bottles of whiskey, and are set to be rolled out early this year at South Korea's second-largest pharmaceutical firm.
"Users simply need to operate the phone with an RFID reader USIM card inserted, and read tags attached to products via wireless connection," Jin-Hee states. "For instance, when a tag code is read, information is sent from the server through wireless networks like 3G and Wi-Fi, and appear on the user's mobile screen. It allows users to receive product history information, and helps confirm the authenticity of goods. If a dedicated application is already installed on the smart phone, information can be downloaded. If not, Smart Agent [software] provides a simple RFID service, such as text, image and hyperlink."
The RFID reader USIM card utilizes a serial peripheral interface (SPI) to control the connection between its USIM chip and its RFID reader chip, Jin-Hee explains. "The service can be provided through all handsets that support USIM," he says, "as it uses an ISO 7816 hardware interface, a standard interface for USIM to connect to application programs of handsets."
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